10 Days In, Are My Test Readings To Be Expected For This Length Of Time

Author Topic: 10 days in, are my test readings to be expected for this length of time  (Read 3061 times)

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Online pollydoodle

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I've had my tank running (fishless) for 10 days now and for the first seven days used Seachem Prime.  Took some test reading last night using a NTLabs kit

pH  nearer 8 than 7.5

NH2: 0    NO2: 1   NO3: 20   KH: 15  GH: 12      We live in a  hard water area

Are these 'normal' for this stage or do I need to be doing something else
 

Offline fcmf

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Can you remind us, @pollydoodle, are you dosing ammonia to simulate fish waste and therefore preparing the filter to be able to process that (ie a fishless cycle) or are you just leaving the tank to sit with the filter switched on? If the latter, then your readings are going to be just the same as what you would get from the tap. If the former, how often have you been dosing ammonia?

Edited to add: here is a recap of previous discussions / info on the topic: https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/new-fishkeepers/all-set-up/msg40227/#msg40227

Online pollydoodle

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I haven't used ammonia, it was Seachem Stability I used, for a week, not Prime,  ::) which I used to de-chlorinate the water in the first instance.

I thought the 'Stability' was more or less to do the same job as ammonia

Offline fcmf

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I thought the 'Stability' was more or less to do the same job as ammonia

Sue's reply in the thread I linked to is very helpful on the matter, in which she states "The Stability may help but you can't rely on it to cycle a tank. It may or may not contain the right species of bacteria, and if it has ever been stored incorrectly (eg freezing or baking in a lorry) it probably won't work. It is worth getting some ammonia and adding enough of that to give a reading of 3 ppm, then test after 24 hours. If you then have readings for ammonia and/or nitrite above zero, you need to do a fishless cycle. https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/fishtank-filtration-and-cycling/fishless-cycling-how-to-do-it/"

Kleen-Off ammonia is the brand to buy - e-bay sells it at really good prices.

Hope that helps.  :)

Offline Sue

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And also without a source of ammonia in the tank, any viable bacteria in the Stability will go into a dormant state. The longer they are dormant, the longer it takes them to 'wake up'.

A bottle of ammonia costs only a couple of , which is a lot cheaper than buying more fish if you find the tank is not cycled and the fish die.
It is much safer, and a lot less work, if you add enough ammonia to give 3 ppm in your tank, then test for both ammonia and nitrite 24 hours later. If either of them show more than zero, the tank is not cycled and you will have saved yourself having to do a fish-in cycle with its daily water changes.
In your tank you will need 4.75 ml of 9.5% ammonia to get 3 ppm - and the Kleen Off Household Ammonia that fcmf referred to is 9.5%. I have some and since it doesn't say on the bottle I emailed the company to ask. A babies' medicine dosing syringe is ideal for measurements like this, or a suitable sized syringe off Ebay/Amazon

Online pollydoodle

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Thank you Sue, after last nights post, I've ordered some from ebay and am now waiting for delivery.
Some people are born to be idiots, and I'm obviously one of them!  :vcross: :rotfl:

Offline Sue

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When the ammonia arrives, add 4.75 ml (5 if you can't measure 4.75) then half an hour later test ammonia. The half hour wait is to allow it to mix in. You'll have to guestimate 3 ppm because most testers do not have a colour for that amount. If the reading is less than 3, add a bit more but make sure you add the amounts so you know how many mls in total make 3ppm. If it is over 3 ppm, 4 is OK but any higher, remove some water and add more plain dechlorinated tap water.

24 hours after you add the ammonia, test ammonia & nitrite. If they are both zero, good the tank is cycled. If one or other - or both - are not zero, tell us the readings and we'll help with the best way forwards.

Online pollydoodle

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.

24 hours after you add the ammonia, test ammonia & nitrite. If they are both zero, good the tank is cycled. If one or other - or both - are not zero, tell us the readings and we'll help with the best way forwards.

I dosed with ammonia this morning and the reading looked like it would be 4

Does this mean that if everything is ok after 24 hours, fingers, or should I say fins, crossed, I could go out tomorrow afternoon and buy some fish  :) :fishy1:


Offline Sue

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That's right. It all depends on the 24 hour later ammonia and nitrite readings. Two zeros mean the tank is ready for fish; only one zero or no zeros mean it isn't.

Offline Littlefish

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Fingers crossed.  :)

Online pollydoodle

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 :'( :'(

Soo disappointed.  My ammonia and nitrite readings are 1 - 2.  I'm finding it very hard to judge the colours against the box colours.  Using NT labs test kit

What do I do next?

Offline Sue

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Look on the bright side - you won't be risking any fish during a fish-in cycle  ;)

Test every second day (Tuesday, Thursday and so on) till you reach a day where ammonia is less than 0.75. If you you were starting from scratch, nitrite should also be over 2, but since you already have some bacteria - just not enough - you may well find nitrite does not go that high. So concentrate on the ammonia reading.

As soon as you have 0.75 ammonia, add a tiny bit less ammonia that you added yesterday so it gives 3 ppm rather than 4 ppm.
Then carry on testing every other day till you have 2 tests with zero ammonia, the first on one day and the second 2 days later. Make a note of the nitrite reading as well.

Then ask what to do next  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Do you have plants in the tank Miss Doodle...?

Offline Sue

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Ooops  :-[ I forgot to ask that. Live plants can be harmed by adding ammonia, and enough live plants means cycling is not necessary as plants use ammonia. If there are enough live plants they use all the ammonia made by the fish.

So yes, do you have any live plants in the tank, and if so how many?

Online pollydoodle

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Sue, I don't have any.  Did think about it, but several people said don't bother!

Thanks

Offline Sue

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Live plants are better for the fish, but as long as you have some fake plants in there, the fish will be fine. I just forgot to check before telling you to add all that ammonia as it could kill some plants species. And if your tank had been stuffed full of live plants, you wouldn't have need to cycle it at all.

Plants, whatever they are made of, are important in a tank as they give the fish a feeling of security. Most of the small shoaling fish we keep are food for bigger fish in the wild so not having somewhere to hide if they feel threatened stresses fish - and stressed fish become sick easily. It sounds backwards but the more places they have to hide the more fish will come out in the open because they know the hiding places are there should that predator appear.


Tip - if you want a 'natural' looking tank, silk plants are more realistic than plastic. But even if you want dayglo plastic, the fish won't mind  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Another important benefit of live plants is that they will help to keep those water parameters in check superbly...  :)

Online pollydoodle

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All my 'plants' bar one, are silk. I suppose its too late to add live plants, but there again, it would be a 40 mile round trip to get some and couldn't be done until Wednesday, by which time, maybe, just maybe, the water will be coming right.  I have also read they should be added at the same time as fish

Offline TopCookie

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You can add plants any time, and in many ways the more live plants the better...  But not everybody wants them of course...  The easiest way to add live plants and start enjoying their benefits would be to add some floating plants - I have some Amazon Frogbit in my tank...  Just avoid the one called Duck Weed...  With floating plants, there is no need to actually plant them as such, you simply chuck 'em in the tank...  :)

The advice to add plants at the same time as fish is really geared around the fish having the benefits of live plants from the start, but it really does not mean that it's only safe to add them together... 

Offline Helen

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It's never too late to switch to real plants. You don't have to have a full on plant substrate. There are a lot of plants that prefer to grow on wood or rocks and not in the substrate: annubias, java fern (several variants), mosses, african water fern, beucealandra (I'm so sorry, my spelling is atrocious).

And there are several good internet plant shops. If you are interested I can post links to the ones I have used.

But as @Sue said, it depends on the look you want to achieve. The fish are happy with fake plants.

Offline Sue

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I have been keeping fish for just over 20 years. I started with plastic plants then moved on to silk ones. Every live plant I tried died. Even duck weed died, and that is indestructible. But I kept seeing photos of tanks with live plants on forums and wishing I could do that.

So a few years ago I changed approach. I bought some java fern and attached to a plastic log ornament. It survived  :o For a long time that's all I had - java fern attached to more and more ornaments. Then I got daring and gradually changed the plastic decor for real wood; and got more plants. My tank now had lots of plants. They are virtually all plants that grow on decor, though I do also have water sprite as a floating plant and hornwort wrapped round wood branches and also left to float.
This type of plant can be added whenever you want. They do not need any fancy substrate because these plants do not have roots in the substrate. They don't need any fancy lighting because they are slow growing. And they are very easy to move around if you don't like the arrangement  :)

Stay with the silk/plastic plants until you are used to the maintenance regime of keeping fish. Then if you want to try live plants, look at java fern already attached to a coconut shell, or some other decor.
I've got most of my plants from Ebay!

Offline Matt

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You might find this page helps with choosing potential plants:

www.ScapeEasy.co.uk/plants.htm

Online pollydoodle

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As soon as you have 0.75 ammonia, add a tiny bit less ammonia that you added yesterday so it gives 3 ppm rather than 4 ppm.


Not quite there yet, but how much is a tiny bit less? I added 4.75, so would 4 be the right amount?  and would things speed up a bit if I added some real plants - at the moment I feel like I'm all dressed up for a party, but no ones asking me to dance  :rotfl:

I guess all newbies are in  a hurry to start.   :-\  ;D

Offline Sue

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If you don't get live plants, 4 ml should be fine, just check after half an hour (to let the new dose mix in)


If you do want to get live plants, either wait till the cycle is finished, or get them now, but wait till ammonia and nitrite have dropped before planting them. Or do a water change to get the readings low. Too much ammonia or nitrite in the water can harm some plants.
If you want just a couple of live plants it is better to wait till the cycle finishes as you need more than a couple of plants to remove the ammonia made by a tankful of fish.
With several plants wait a week or so after planting to make sure the plants are OK. The last thing you need is having plants die when there are fish in the tank because then there'll be nothing to take up the ammonia made by the fish, and decomposing plants will make additional ammonia.
Once you are satisfied that the plants are thriving, you can get the first of the fish species you want. For shoaling fish, get the whole shoal. Then test for ammonia and nitrite every day. If you get a reading above zero, do a water change. Once the readings have been zero for at least a week, get the next species and so on till you have all your fish.

Online pollydoodle

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Had my first reading of o ammonia and nitrite today  :)  Hopefully by the end of the week I can have fish!!  :fishy1: :fishy1:

Offline fcmf

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 :cheers:

 :fishy1:

Offline TopCookie

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Well done Miss Doodle...  Exciting times ahead...   :D

Offline Littlefish

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Hooray!  :cheers:

Offline Matt

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Congrats  :fishy1:

Offline daveyng

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Now for the exciting bit. Choosing you first fish.

Online pollydoodle

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Yippee  :wave:

My second 0 reading of ammonia and nitrite.

What to do now please Sue

Offline TopCookie

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Do you already have a plan, fish wise, @pollydoodle ...?

Offline Sue

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The next stage is to add 3 ppm ammonia and test in 24 hours. If both ammonia and nitrite are zero, the cycle is finished. Do a big (and I mean big) water change the day before you can get to the fish shop. If that will be more than 3 days, add 1ppm ammonia on the second day after double zeros 24 hours after adding ammonia.
If they are not both zero 24 hours after adding 3 ppm, tell us and we'll say what to do - it just saves me typing out all the possible scenarios at once  ;)

Online pollydoodle

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Oh dear,  no fish for me tomorrow  :'(  :'(

my  readings tonight.   ammonia .5 and nitrite 1

so disappointed

Offline Sue

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Oh dear  :( The silver lining to the cloud is that you haven't put fish in a not-quite-cycled tank.

OK, so now -

#1 Test every 24 hours. As soon as you have ammonia less than 0.25 and nitrite less than 1, add another 3 ppm ammonia.
#2 Test again after 24 hours.

If that test shows 2 zeros, good. If they are not zero, repeat #1 and #2 until you get 2 zeros.

Online pollydoodle

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Sue, what would I do without you and 'ThinkFish' :)

Thank you so much  :fishy1:

Online pollydoodle

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I was going to top up my empty water butts with the change!!  :sick:

Offline Sue

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My water change water has been going straight onto the garden this last week. It saves using the hose pipe  ;D

Offline Helen

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Mine too. I'm hoping my roses enjoyed the 55l water change yesterday. Not that there's any nutrients left in my tank water.

Offline Littlefish

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I don't have an outside tap, but I do have a hose that fits onto my external filters, so the tanks have been having more frequent water changes during the warm weather so I can water the garden.

Offline Helen

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Would that count if there's a hosepipe ban?  :o

Offline Littlefish

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Wow, @Helen watching the news this morning and they are talking about reduction in water usage.  :yikes:
All waste tank water (apart from brackish) is used in the garden, and now I'm less worried about the garden and more concerned about my tanks.
This may be time for a new thread... :o


Online pollydoodle

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  I have been taking the water for testing from just under the surface.  Tonight for some reason I decided to go deep and my readings were ammonia 0 and nitrite 0 which makes me think, Have I been doing it wrong all this time?  :-[


do I still need to add more ammonia, and carry on as per last instructions Sue, or have I now reached my goal  ??? 

Offline Sue

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Provided your filter moves the water round the tank, it shouldn't matter where you take the water from, although there is the possibility that taking it from just under the surface could also collect any debris floating on the surface.

Did you test any just under the surface water as well? It would be interesting to see if they are different, and by how much.

If the just under the surface readings are also zero, or very close, I would consider the cycle finished.

Online pollydoodle

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"If the just under the surface readings are also zero, or very close, I would consider the cycle finished."


would that mean I can do a water change tomorrow and then get some fish?   possibly salmon to go with a nice salad  :rotfl: : :fishy1:

Offline Sue

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Yes to both the tank fish and the salmon. I had a nice piece of salmon for dinner this evening  ;D

Online pollydoodle

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 :cheers: :fishy1: :fishy1: :fishy 1:near surface reading was the same.

Water change will probably kill me, I dont do heat :-\ but at least the water butts will get filled.

Next major decision, what to buy. Hard water, temp 25
I will be studying the book tonight

Offline Sue

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Cross check the book with Seriously Fish http://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ They are more up to date/more accurate than most books. The profiles have lots of info such as hardness, pH, temperature, minimum tank size, type of decor the species likes, fish they are happy with and any fish to avoid with any particular species.

Offline Littlefish

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Congratulations on completing your cycling.  :cheers:

What fish are you considering?

This is very exciting.  ;D

Online pollydoodle

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Not sure yet, any suggestions welcome and I can research before deciding. It's the first ones really, then I can work out how many to have in the tank and slowly take it from there. I know there's compatibliy guides and tools to work out how many on this amazing site. I don't know what I would've done without the help, especially from Sue
Thank you

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